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Time doesn’t care if you want to battle with it.

This morning, as I sat down to have my peaceful Sunday morning coffee and my favorite grain-free muffins, I started thinking about all the things I want to get done today.

“I haven’t been to the grocery store in two weeks.”

“I need to make a list first.”

“I need to decide which one of those meal plans I liked.”

“We need to clean the apartment today. I really don’t like how grungy the bathtub feels on my feet from my body wash.”

“I forgot to pick up my prescription yesterday. Well, that can probably wait.”

“I need to exercise today since I skipped yesterday.”

“I wonder what time we’re going to dinner with my parents tonight.”

“I need to do laundry too.”

It keeps going. There’s no point in listing all of it. It’s 11am as I write this, and I haven’t accomplished any of that.

Instead, I stopped myself before I got discouraged and overwhelmed and I thought, “I always feel like I’m battling time. What do I really do in a day? Why do I feel like I never have enough time?”

So, I made a list of what I want to do on a typical weekday, and narrowed it down to what I actually do. Then and I estimated how much time I spent doing each task.

What I WANT to do: 

  • 8 hours to sleep
  • 40 minutes in the morning to prep breakfast, clean the litter box, feed Medea, change her water, collect and set out the trash, do dishes and put them away and drink coffee
  • 30 minutes of exercise
  • 30 minutes to shower and dress before work
  • 40 minutes of commuting (20 minutes each way)
  • 8 hours of work
  • 1 hour of time to myself for lunch
  • 1 hour to cook dinner
  • 1 hour to eat dinner with my boyfriend
  • 1 hour to talk or watch TV with my boyfriend
  • 30 minutes to clean dishes after dinner and put away leftovers
  • 20 minutes to pack lunch for the next day
  • 30 minutes of playtime with Medea
  • 30 minutes to practice coding and web design
  • 30 minutes to write, blog, draw, or read
  • 1 hour to shower, brush my teeth, do my nightly grooming, pick up around the apartment and get my belongings ready for the next day, relax and talk before we go to sleep.

What I ACTUALLY get done:

  • 6-8 hours to sleep
  • 40 minutes in the morning to prep breakfast, clean the litter box, feed Medea, change her water, collect and set out the trash, do dishes and put them away and drink coffee
  • 30 minutes of exercise
  • 30 minutes to shower and dress before work
  • 40 minutes of commuting (20 minutes each way)
  • 8 hours of work
  • 20-30 minutes of eating while working through lunch
  • 1-2 hours to cook dinner
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour to eat dinner with my boyfriend
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour to talk or watch TV with my boyfriend
  • 30 minutes to clean dishes after dinner and put away leftovers
  • 20 minutes to pack lunch for the next day
  • 1 hour to shower, brush my teeth, do my nightly grooming, pick up around the apartment and get my belongings ready for the next day, relax and talk before we go to sleep.

After adding up the time on each list, I found that I spend most of my time sleeping, working, and doing housework (dishes, cooking, cleaning, tending to the cat, or preparing food/my belongings for the next day). That’s 20-23 hours on all these activities. 

Dear god. No wonder I’m tired all of the time and feel like a robot. I spend more time each week scooping up my cat’s poop than I do writing. I have no earthly idea why it takes me 20 minutes to pack lunch. And clearly I need to get one of those sifting litter boxes.

Instead of throwing myself a pity party, I’m going to be constructive.

I can’t change that I need to work to pay bills. But I can change that I do something I enjoy in those 8 hours a day. I’ve been trying to teach myself coding and web design in my free time on the nights and weekends. Clearly, I’m not getting much practice done. And I’ve been thinking how fun it’s going to be when I can build websites and see the things I create out in the world. That is never going to happen if I don’t change how I spend my time.

I can’t change that dishes get dirty when we eat, but I can learn to delegate the workload. And use the damn dishwasher!

I can’t change that we have to cook to eat, but I can choose to spend my time making meal plans, and asking for help with cooking and grocery shopping.

So how are you spending your time? Do you feel like you never have enough? If you start feeling overwhelmed, sit down and make one of these lists. You’ll see what you’re really doing each day. You’ll get to see what you’ve made important. And what’s really not that important to you.

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s never too late or too early for gratitude.

Maybe this would have been more timely at Thanksgiving, but I was busy Thanksgiving weekend being not busy. It was excellent. I read 100 pages of The Prometheus Deception, by Robert Ludlum and snuggled for whole afternoons with my kitty, Medea. (Every once in a while, I like a bestseller list thriller. I’ve got everything on my bookshelves from Shakespeare to Cher’s Guide to Whatever. I make sure to maintain a good sense of humor.)

What got me thinking about gratitude now, aside from Christmas coming up, was that I was angry about something. Something that I have limited control over. Something that is unresolved and that I can only do so much to resolve. Something that I don’t understand and won’t be able to explain.

So instead of staying angry about it, I decided that I needed to find things for which to be grateful. I didn’t want to give myself a headache and my shoulders are already stiff from clenching my way through 45 burpees (the non-pushup ones) on Friday morning.

With that in mind, I thought tonight I would make a list of the things I’m grateful for in my life. I recommend you do the same, even if you don’t post it publicly or write it down.

  • I can take deep breaths and smell fresh air through my porch door. And delicious fajitas being cooked somewhere nearby.
  • I have clean, running water in which to take a hot shower after a long walk.
  • I live with my two favorite creatures in the world–my boyfriend and my cat.
  • I have a supportive and generous family who have helped me through just about everything difficult in my life.
  • I have a job and I can pay my bills without sacrificing much.
  • I’m in good health and I can treat what hurts my body when I need to.
  • I have a very, very cozy bed.
  • Pizza is in my belly. How I love pizza.
  • I realized life has no rules and I get to do what makes me happy.
  • I have very low maintenance hair.
  • I can now get through 10 burpees in a row before my legs turn into jelly. Progress is slow and steady.
  • I have the sweetest cat in the world. No seriously. She is sweet enough to be on the list twice.
  • I met a new friend.

I could continue if I wanted. But I think my point is made.

Life might be throwing some shit at you right now. Be angry, be frustrated, be sad, and get clear on how to deal with it. Then let it go when it’s done. It’s only your life you’re wasting if you stay angry. Never too late or too early.

 

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